Facebook Takes Steps to Combat Election Interference

'They will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2018 3:29 PM CDT
Facebook Takes Steps to Combat Election Interference
In this March 29, 2018 file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Facebook on Friday announced new moves it says will help combat foreign interference in US elections, the New York Times reports. Going forward, anyone in the US buying political ads on Facebook must submit government-issued ID and a US mailing address. Facebook will later roll the new requirements out to other countries. According to Quartz, Facebook had announced requirements for purchasing electoral ads back in October but is now expanding them to "issue" ads, which are largely what Russians were running on US Facebook ahead of the 2016 presidential election. In addition, Facebook will begin labeling political ads and providing information on them to users, including where the money for the ads came from.

Facebook says it will also start requiring that people who run pages with lots of followers verify their identity. "These steps by themselves won't stop all people trying to game the system," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post Friday. "But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did during the 2016 election and use fake accounts and pages to run ads." Zuckerberg also expressed his support for the Honest Ads Act bill currently working its way through the Senate—despite Facebook having previously lobbied against it. The bill would put requirements on online political ads similar to what ads on broadcast television face. Zuckerberg's announcement comes just days ahead of his scheduled testimony in front of Congress. (More Facebook stories.)

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